Roasted tomatoes

It's prime time for tomatoes this summer, and roasting them in olive oil and herbs will intensify their delicious, juicy flavor. 

Rowdy Chowgirl
Sprinkle basil, oregano, and other seasonings on a batch of fresh tomatoes and roast them in the oven for a juicy, summer side dish.

Do you have a case of mid-summer tomato lust?  Symptoms include: grabbing every bumpy, multicolored heirloom tomato you can get your hands on at the farmer’s market, engaging in long, earnest debates about the best methods of growing tomatoes in the garden (I am of the give-them-a-trellis-then-let-them-ramble school of thought), making entire meals out of sliced tomatoes, and those in the grip of a really serious case can be found burying their face in their tomato vines at dusk and breathing deep lung-fulls of that incomparable scent.  Certain people may have even, upon occasion, rubbed tomato leaves on their wrists like perfume.

It’s a brief madness – just a summer romance, passing harmlessly away by fall.

I’ve been slow roasting tomatoes in olive oil.  Cooked this way, their flavor is deepened and intensified. Swimming in a luxurious bath of olive oil, the deeply red tomatoes bring you nearly all the way to a finished pasta dish.

However, they are equally good simply layered on a big slice of crusty sourdough bread and topped with a few shavings of sharp white cheese.  Breathe in the garlicky perfume before taking your first bite. Then lean over so your plate can catch the inevitable drips of olive oil instead of your lap. Lick your fingers with abandon.

Tomatoes can be messy. But they are worth it.

Roasted Tomatoes
(adapted from Bon Appetit)

1/2 cup olive oil
1-1/2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, any combination
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2  teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped fine

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Cut tomatoes in half and remove pulp. Pour half of the olive oil into a 12x9x2-inch baking dish. Place tomatoes in single layer in baking dish, cut side up. Drizzle with remaining oil, then sprinkle with herbs, sugar and salt. Bake for one hour, then turn tomatoes over with tongs.  Bake for another hour and turn again. Continue baking until soft – approximately 15-30 more minutes.

Place a single layer of tomatoes in a glass bowl, sprinkle with half the garlic and parsley, then repeat with second layer. Cover with the reserved oil from baking dish.

At this point, either marinate tomatoes for a few hours at room temperature before serving, or cover and refrigerate for up to a week.

Related post on The Rowdy Chowgirl: Tomato Chutney

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